I was born and raised down in Southeast Missouri in the small town of Kennett. I worked in cotton fields picking the cotton by hand until I was old enough to join the military service. I joined at age 17. I spent three years of active service in the US Army, beginning with 16 weeks of school and training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, then off to serve 13 months in Korea. I was shipped out of Ft. Lewis, Washington, aboard the USS GENERAL WILLIAM MITCHELL # 114, along with 2500 seasick soldiers. And by the way, 13 months later I shipped back to Ft. Lewis, Washington, aboard the same ship.
The remainder of my service time in Camp Wolters, at Mineral Wells, Texas, where I was tasked with attaching nuclear warheads on Hercules Missiles. For that I had to have a Top Secret Clearance. When the FBI invaded my small hometown checking my background, rumors ran rampant throughout the town and everybody, including my family and friends, thought they were investigating me for committing a crime or something. After my release from active duty, I did 3 years of reserve duty. I had finished my 6-year obligation to the military a couple of years before the Vietnam War broke out. I was not called back to active duty.
In 1962, I migrated to Pekin, Illinois where I worked at several jobs. My first job was at a gas station, then a grocery store where I met my beautiful wife, Judie, I also worked as a laborer in the construction trade and then took an apprenticeship on the Rock Island Railroad. After almost 3 years working as an engine and boxcar repairman, I left and got a job in the Boilermakers as a welder where I worked for over 10 years. I traveled all over the mid west during those years, usually only coming home on weekends. We built everything from water towers to small storage tanks to huge ones. We also built conventional power stations and nuclear power stations. My last job was at the Powerton Power Station at Pekin, Illinois in 1974.
I left the Boilermaker trades to fulfill a life long dream...to be a police officer. I had already been a Civil defense officer for two years. We wore a white hat, a white belt and carried a white night stick. I was assigned badge #13. Our duty was to direct traffic when extra police officers were needed such as parades and sometimes securing the area around crime scenes and vehicle accidents.
In 1974, I was sworn in as a full time commissioned police officer on the Pekin, Illinois Police Department where I was assigned badge #114. How about that! The same number as the ship I sailed to Korea on, The USS General William Mitchell # 114!
In 1977, I was assigned to the detective division where I served until 1980 when I was promoted to sergeant with badge #204 and reassigned to patrol. Within 6 months I was back in the investigation unit where I spent several more years as an investigator and then back to the patrol division just before I retired on August 30, 1994
In October 1988, my brothers Dennis and Rob and I opened The Conover Private Detective Agency and operated it for 15 years, over time employing 22 assistants. After 15 years, we sold the business.
I had began my writing career in 1988 while still on the police department and have continued writing since I retired. I not only write books, but I also write screenplays, make movies, documentaries, music videos and promotional films. My film production team and I produced the only feature length western movie ever filmed entirely in Illinois. The film, The Showdown, is being distributed all over the world. And today I'm still at it.